There’s a key ingredient missing from so many relationships these days. People keep wondering how to improve their relationships, how to get along with their significant others better, how to become one of those couples that just has ‘it’. The answer is simple people: The ‘it’ that those annoyingly cute couples have is friendship.
We have become so obsessed with creating perfect relationships that we often look past the necessary ingredient that really generates staying power. Being friends with the person you’re dating is essential; being best friends with that person should be what you strive for. Think about it, you’re probably dating someone with hopes of creating a life together, right? This is a person you spend most of your time with and someone who will see you on your most god awful days if you end up getting married or staying together for the long haul. Why on earth would you not be best friends with this person?
Unfortunately, if you take a look around, you’ll see tons of couples who are missing this key element. We have all become so obsessed with being in a relationship that we think if the sex is good then it must be true love. We rush into love thinking chemistry is more about how our bodies work together than how compatible our minds are. We blindly believe that our soul mates are found is good conversations over dinner and fireworks that fly when you kiss.
Sure, good dinner convos and high intensity sparks are great indicators that you’re on the right path to something real, but there needs to be more. There needs to be depth. You need to be able to be yourself with this person. You need to be comfortable enough to let them see who you are when no one else is around. After all, this is how the best friendships work, right?
Throughout our lives we are always presented with opportunities for friendship. We learn early on that best friends are in a class all their own. These are the friends who see us cry, they learn our secrets at slumber parties, they see us at our worst and they love us anyway. When we’re younger, most of us define our friendships by gender. Girls are friends with girls and boys with boys (the rare occasion sees these lines blurred). We share our secret crushes about the other gender with our best friends and we trust that no one will find out. And as we get older, people believe that men and women can’t simply be “just friends” anyway. Maybe we can, maybe we can’t? But if you wanna find love, why not with your best friend?
So, maybe, this is why it’s hard for so many people to develop close friendships with the opposite sex? We’re taught from so young that we date the opposite gender and become friends with our own. Of course none of that’s really true anyway. The truth is if you want a successful relationship you need to be best friends with the person you’re dating. You don’t need to be friends going into the relationship but that friendship needs to develop because it will be the root that holds your love tree in place during the stormiest weather.
You need to be with a person who makes you feel at ease; someone you can be totally open with and have confidence that they won’t judge you or love you any less. You need to date someone you can be silly with and laugh with, someone you can dance and sing with, even if you’re not at all talented in those departments. Develop a relationship with someone who lets you be you and who allows you to speak your mind. If you’re ever scared to be yourself or say how you feel with the person you’re dating then you might want to start re-evaluating things. Why subject yourself to a life of insecurity, worried that you’ll be judged for every move you make? Sorry, but that’s not what lasting relationships are made of.
Sometimes it’s not even that the person makes you feel insecure, it’s just that your friendship chemistry is off. Think about someone you’ve known for years but could never develop that real bond with. That happens with relationships too. You might get along with someone fine but if that friendship bond never forms you really aren’t left with much besides the physical attraction (which by all means is great if that’s all you’re looking for).
Jeremy Taylor wrote “Love is friendship set on fire” and there is nothing truer than his words. If you want a relationship that will last and bring out the best in you, find a friend within the fireworks that happen during the great sex you have. When we’re kids, we talk about how cool it would be if we could live with our best friends and spend all our time together. Well, now you have the chance. Find a friend within your lover; these are the relationships that lead to happily ever after because they are rooted in true friendship. It’s the main ingredient you need to make it work, it’s the flour in your cake of life.
Married to my best friend, The Love Hawk
Shannon loves love. She has a passion for people and understanding the little things that make everyone unique and similar, all at the same time. She has degrees in Communication Studies, Psychology, and Broadcast Journalism but it’s the school of life that taught Shannon most of what she knows about love and relationships.
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